UK and US sign new ‘open skies’ air services arrangement

The UK and US concluded an ‘open skies’ air services arrangement to govern air travel after Britain leaves the European Union.

Replacing the current EU aviation agreement with the US, the new arrangement will ensure that aircraft flying from the UK will continue to access the same facilities as they currently have with America.

Additionally, the arrangement will enable airlines to continue to operate and support the development of new services for the future.

Los Angeles City Council approves $2bn car rental facility at LAX

The Los Angeles City Council approved a $2bn contract with L.A. Gateway Partners (LAGP) for a consolidated car rental facility at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the US.

LAGP, which is a consortium of 11 companies, will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) Facility at the airport for a period of 28 years.

The consortium for the ConRAC is led by PCL Construction Services as the general contractor. Design firm A.C. Martin Partners is a local partner.

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Birmingham Airport outlines £500m investment to expand capacity

The UK’s Birmingham Airport revealed plans to invest £500m over the next 15 years to increase its passengers’ handling capacity to 18 million people per annum by 2033.

The investment strategy was outlined by the airport in its latest draft master plan known as ‘The Midlands Gateway to the World’.

According to the master plan, the airport will self-finance the investment to improve, modernise and extend its facilities to boost its capacity and improve the travellers’ experience.

Indian Government clears proposals to privatise six more airports

The Government of India approved a proposal to manage and develop Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru airports under a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Indian law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the proposal had been approved ‘in principle’ to hand over the airports to PPP operators that are currently managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

He further added that the government’s experience of managing five airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kochi and Hyderabad through the PPP model has been encouraging.

Inmarsat partners with ANSPs for air traffic modernisation project

UK firm Inmarsat reached agreements with five major air navigation services providers (ANSPs) to implement a new air traffic modernisation project.

Under the agreements, Inmarsat will team-up with DFS from Germany, Spain’s ENAIRE, Italian company ENAV, and the UK’s NATS, as well as EUROCONTROL MUAC from north-west Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

The parties will join an initial operational capability (IOC) testing programme aimed at modernising air traffic management (ATM) across Europe.

Gulf Air Group increases ownership stake in BAS to 44%

Gulf Air Group increased its ownership in Bahrain Airport Services (BAS) to 44% as part of a strategy to boost the company’s control over a key strategic aviation asset.

BAS provides ground handling services at Bahrain International Airport. It noted that proceeds will help the company expand to offer services to overseas airports.

An agreement was signed by Bahrain Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications and Gulf Air Group Holding chairman Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, as well as BAS board of directors chairman Mohammed Jalal during the second day of the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2018.

China approves $6bn expansion of Urumqi Airport in Xinjiang

China’s state planner the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) granted permission for an RMB42.1bn ($6.06bn) expansion project of Urumqi Airport (URC) in Xinjiang.

Urumqi is an important centre in China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Construction of the URC is scheduled to run through to 2030 when the airport is predicted to manage 750,000t of cargo and 63 million passengers per annum, according to NDRC.

Heathrow selects SITA to upgrade communication network

Heathrow Airport partnered with IT solutions provider SITA to automate its communication network.

The new service is set to introduce emerging automation and self-healing technologies to Heathrow’s existing network tower, which supports more than 12,000 telephones, 150,000 local area network (LAN) connections, 1,900 radios and more than 3,500 wireless LAN (WLAN) access points across the airport campus.

The technologies will optimise operations and upgrade the tower from a localised structure to provide wider global support. SITA’s team will be able to monitor and manage the network both on-site and remotely.

Delta to launch first biometric terminal in US at Atlanta airport

Delta Air Lines prepared to introduce the first biometric terminal in the US at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s (ATL) Terminal F.

The new technology will be launched in collaboration with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

With the new biometric terminal in place, passengers flying directly to an international destination on Delta, Air France, Aeromexico, KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways can use the facial recognition from entering the airport up to the departure gate.

Emerging countries to drive global passenger traffic growth, says ACI

Emerging and developing countries are expected to make up more than 60% of all passenger traffic across the globe by 2040, revealed a report published by Airport Council International (ACI) World.

According to the ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts (WATF), global traffic surpassed the 8.2 billion passenger mark last year, which is forecasted to double by 2034 at a steady growth rate of 4.3% annually.

The WATF includes traffic projections for over 110 countries and presents detailed metrics. These include total passengers, total air cargo and total aircraft movements up to 2040.